Kenya’s electoral commission set October 26 for a rerun of the presidential vote, as President Uhuru Kenyatta slammed the Supreme Court ruling that annulled the earlier election as a “judicial coup.”
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announced the new date, nine days later than its initial suggestion, on its Twitter account on Thursday.
A statement issued by IEBC chairman, Wafula Chebukati, said the commission was studying the detailed ruling issued by the court on Wednesday.
“There is no doubt that the judgement impacts on the election operations and in particular technology to be deployed.
“In order to ensure that the Commission is fully prepared to deliver an election that meets the standards set out by the Supreme Court, we wish to notify the public and all stakeholders that the fresh presidential election shall now be held on Thursday, October 26, 2017,” the statement added.
Just before, Kenyatta, who was named winner of the initial election, said in a televised address that the East African country’s highest court has “subverted the will of the people” with its historic judgment.
The Supreme Court nullified the August 8 vote, the first time a presidential election result has been legally overturned in Africa, after finding the electoral commission committed “irregularities and illegalities” and failed to conduct the vote in line with the constitution.
The court cited a litany of failures by the commission in its detailed judgment delivered on Wednesday, including that the body declared the outcome of the vote without the proper documents.
The court in annulling the vote in its ruling on September 1, 2017 ordered that a rerun be held within 60 days – the IEBC had earlier slated October 17 for the rerun.
The date was stiffly opposed by the petitioners whiles the ruling Jubilee coalition insisted that it should he held on the scheduled date.
Opposition candidate Raila Odinga has demanded an overhaul of the electoral authority, including the removal of Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba, before he’ll take part in the rerun.
Kenyatta said Thursday that while the result was nullified “on the assumption that there were irregularities in election result forms, it is now manifestly clear that despite the fact relevant forms had already been deposited in court, no proper scrutiny or verification ever took place.”
“How a decision of that magnitude was without examination of some of the most crucial documents is incredibly startling,” he said.
Addressing a gathering of pastoral-community leaders in the capital, Nairobi, earlier on Thursday, Kenyatta said the Supreme Court had set back the democratic ideals Kenyans have sought “over many years” to attain.